Girls in White Dresses
Knopf, Aug 9 2011, $24.99
This seventeen short stories anthology amusingly and intelligently follows the lives of three BFFs (Isabella the account manager turned publishing assistant, Mary the lawyer, and Lauren the realtor) and their buddies in New York City. Isabella opens the anecdotal collection when she was twelve and her older sister was getting married as the tweener learns “The Rules of Life”. In “Summer Sausage” the trio and others know Ellen’s mantra is she dates ugly guys culminating in Louis who dumped her several times. Isabella and her boyfriend at the time Ben always fought until they broke up, but she recalls the wedding of his friend Mike to a Jon-Benet look alike in JonBenet and other Tragedies”. The best tales are “Blind” as Isabella who has not dated since Ben left her to survives job switches and bad bosses; the profound "The Peahens" in which Abby describes her odd family; and the deep satirical "Hope," in which Shannon’s boyfriend Dan informs her that the Candidate is the next president. Though some of the entries have similar themes told elsewhere, this is a strong chick lit sex and relational tsuris in the city summed up nicely when Mary gives birth to Henry to the joy of Ken and his widow mom Grandma Button who would never interfere between a mom and her baby like her late mother-in-law did when she terrorized her; instead she sweetly orders her daughter-in-law to do this and do that.